Changes to your life could call for an update to your will. There are a couple of ways you can handle the update, including adding a codicil to your will. If you need to update your will, here is what you need to know.
Should You Amend Your Existing Will?
You can amend your existing will to reflect changes using a codicil. The codicil is an additional document that details changes that you want to make. Whether or not this is the best option for updating a will is debatable.
When you create a codicil, it has to be treated the same as a will. It needs to be signed in the presence of two witnesses. Depending on the state in which you live, you might be able to sign it in front of a notary public instead.
Codicils are usually not written in the same vein as the original will. As an addition on a separate paper, the codicil could be called into question by your heirs. For instance, your heirs could challenge whether the codicil is meant to override a part of the existing will.
Depending on where the will and codicil are kept, the additional document could even be misplaced or intentionally destroyed. Unless it is stored with your attorney, there is no guarantee that the codicil will be relied upon at your death.
Is Creating a New Will an Option?
A new will could resolve any issues that would result from using a codicil. In the new will, you can make changes to the document to reflect your updates without worrying about future confusion surrounding its meaning.
If you are planning to revoke the existing will, it is important to note that simply destroying it is not enough. You will need to have the new will prepared and signed before ripping up the old will. If you are unable to create the new will before your death, your old will could be used to settle your estate.
When creating the new will, include language in the document that states previous versions of the will are revoked. You also need to destroy the copies of the old will. Once you have completed this, store your will with your attorney to ensure the correct version is used.
Consult with an attorney like Donald B Linsky & Associate Pa to learn what other considerations you need to make about updating your will and other estate planning.